One year ago, hopped on his bike, rode to Fourth Avenue-Ninth Street subway station and held a sign that read: “Brooklyn Bike Patrol” with his name, phone number and e-mail address underneath.
In the midst of , starting in March 2011, Ruiz took it upon himself to help protect the women of Brooklyn by offering them safe walks home from the subway late at night.
The Prospect Heights resident wanted to prevent more sexual assaults from happening around his neighborhood and once he got the ball rolling, he soon had 11 volunteers at 11 subway stations.
With Brooklyn Bike Patrol’s one-year anniversary he still has 11 volunteers, but they now cover 50 subway stations and 16 neighborhoods throughout the borough including Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy, Sunset Park, Kensington, Windsor Terrace and Carroll Gardens, Borough Park, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bushwick and Williamsburg.
To celebrate, they were scheduled to ride down the Fifth Avenue in Park Slope passing out flyers for their free services.
By next year, Ruiz wants to give his volunteers cameras for their helmets to record the walks. He said he needs to raise money for each camera is $269 a piece. Ruiz believes that by recording each walk it will make it safer, just in case something happens to the woman and the escort while walking through more dangerous parts of Brooklyn late at night.
“We are grateful for all the love and communities we cover,” he said, explaining that BBP now has 117 clients. “I wanted to do this for one year, but now there are so many people calling us and we need to keep doing it. People still need us, so I want to see where we are at in five years.”
Ruiz said he feels like he is “on top of the world” to be able to celebrate one year protecting women.
But, he is humble:
“We are not the heroes, the heroes are the women who call us and trust us to walk them home,” Ruiz said.
If you need to coordinate a safe walk home call, E-mail or Facebook. Also, BBP is looking for five more volunteers. If you are interested, reach out to Jay Ruiz through the information below:
- Tel: 718-744-7592
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: facebook.com/BROOKLYNBIKEPATROL
- Twitter: @BKbikepatrol
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 8 p.m. to midnight. Friday through Saturday, 8 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.